Be alert for kayakers

15 November 2013

Operators of motorised vessels are reminded to be alert with an increasing number of kayaks and canoes expected on SA waters as the weather warms, particularly inland waters and the upper Spencer Gulf regions.

Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) Senior Transport Safety Compliance Officer, Philip Moffatt said being considerate of fellow boaters, including kayakers and canoers is fundamental for safety of all those on the water.

“We encourage those operating unpowered vessels, such as kayaks and canoes, to wear brightly coloured clothing to enhance their visibility," he said.

"Canoes and kayaks are often difficult to see due to their low profile in the water and this visibility is further reduced early in the morning and late in the afternoon due to changing light conditions and reflections."

"Please also remember that before the operation of any type of vessel you must check safety equipment and ensure you have all the required supplies for a safe journey, such as water, sun screen and communication devices."

A four knot speed restriction applies to all vessels within 50 meters of a person in the water, or a person in a kayak, canoe or similar small unpowered recreational vessel.

Mr Moffatt said all boat operators need to be aware of whom they share the water with and the risks involved with different types of vessels.

"Collisions between vessels are often due to inattention and recklessness," he said.

"Proper care and observation will ensure safety to all operators, so travel at a safe speed, know the limits of your vessel and be conscious of potential dangers."

"When approaching an oncoming vessel, make sure your intentions are apparent and avoid making minor and unclear speed changes."

"Remember, careless or dangerous operation of a motorized vessel may result in significant penalties, including a maximum fine of $5000 or two years imprisonment."

For more information visit the kayak and canoe page of

For a free hard copy of the South Australian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook or the Kayaks and Canoes Safety Reference Guide please telephone 1300 183 046, or email

kayaker in the sunset